Hello, I'm Milo for About.com and today we're talking about the Bill of Rights. As the governance of the United States was first being formed there were a few failed attempts as well as a divergent idea of what form the new nation should take. One particular miss were the Articles of Confederation of 1781, the first attempt at a constitution which basically recognized each state as almost a sovereign country. The terms of governance were so loose that the country didn't have a strong foothold from which to operate. During this time two general camps of thought developed, the federalists, led and exemplified by Alexander Hamilton, and the anti-federalists, led by Thomas Jefferson. Both camps wanted a stronger constitution, but their ideas of taxation and the powers of the federal bodies were at odds. The Constitution was ratified in 1789 when the framers promised to delineate certain rights to protect citizens from federal overreach. In enlightenment times notions of a Bill of Rights were not unknown, in fact France had that year created one. During the First Congress, James Madison worked with many amendments proposed by the various colonial congresses to pull together a set of rights that would be debated and added as amendments to the Constitution. Ten of these amendments were submitted to the states for ratification and together they are known as the Bill of Rights. Ratified by December 15, 1791, in short they are: For more excellent, insightful, and interesting information on American history check us out at About.com.
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